His Moment Proclaimed Champion of the 2016 Trakehner Stallion Licensing

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 11:36
Trakehner Breeding News

Once again the Trakehners opened the fall approval season in Germany, gathering in Neumünster the weekend of 20 - 23 October for the 2016 Tralehner Stallion Licensing. It has been a trend for the past few years now to invite only a small number of rigorously pre-selected candidates to NMS. This year it was 37, of which 4 then came for the under saddle approval (none were approved). Not a lot to choose from, considering that breeding is a numbers game after all. In the end, 13 ended up with approved.

The Champion was yet again a son of Millennium, the heavy hitter of dressage breeding in Germany in the past years. His Moment (out of Hermine, by former licensing Champion Le Rouge x Tivano) was bred by Christian Röhl, Stendal and bought at the foal auction in Hanover in 2014 by a consortium of 5 parties that now got to split the 200,000 euro auction know down price. His Moment is a substantial stallion, currently standing 168 cm, who carried much of Millennium’s signature looks and extravagant front end, while suffering from a flat croup with a rather high tail set that makes it difficult for him to truly step under himself and carry weight. An attractive horse all around, the stallion jumped surprisingly well and displayed a great attitude over the long marathon of Trakehner approval days. He was sold at auction to Andreas Helgstrand’s stable, a fact met with a lot of concern from the audience in NMS.

The Reserve Champion was the beautiful grey Zauberreigen (by Rheinklang o/o Zauberglück by Interconti – Tambour), a relative of Ingrid Klimke’s current Bundeschampion eventer Königssee. The stallion nicely embodied the variance in type that the Trakehner breed has to offer and found many fans with his youthful and energetic appearances, never seeming to tire no matter what was asked of him. Zauberreigen is the first approved son of his sire, a son of the Grand Prix stallions Gribaldi and Partout that is going to stand at Gestüt Hörem beginning with the next breeding season. Rheinklang’s career so far was limited by the fact that he only stood via live cover, at a somewhat remote spot in Lower-Saxony and his coat color (chestnut) didn’t make him the most popular with the Trakehner breeders. His results as a sire so far clearly speak for him and hopefully his move to one of the country’s biggest stallion stations will now help him to gain more traction. Zauberreigen sold at auction for 125,000 euro to Gut Staffelde  close to Berlin.

Another three stallions were awarded premium titles, among them one of the crowd favorites, Herzensbrecher, an already 3-year old by the Irish TB Ruffian Reef xx o/o Herzensglück (by Imperio x Gipsy King), bred and owned by Stefanie Herken-Wendt. Praised rightly for his exceptional riding type and body harmony by breed director Lars Gehrmann, the stallion had impeccable manners and always moved with an active hind end and clearly under the center of gravity. He looks very much like his famous grand sire Imperio and is already under saddle. This is the type of “blood” stallion that the otherwise somewhat bloodless dressage branch of horse breeding could really use. The stallion was not for sale and will be heading for his performance test in the spring of 2017.

The premium title for High Five (by Saint Cyr o/o Hama VII (by Summertime x Matador)), bred by Luise Bredemeier, Petershagen and owned by the breeder and Bernhard Langels, was met with a lot of head scratching from the crowd. The stallion is a full brother to the well-received Reserve Champion of 2014, High Motion, but doesn’t come close to his brother’s overall quality. High Five is a lot of horse, granted with an excellent foundation, who otherwise was a nice, albeit normal model.

The new premium stallion In Step is by Schwarzgold o/o In Freude (by Buddenbrock x Kennedy), bred by Hans-Joachim Scharffetter, Schwanewede and owned by Hofgut Rosenau, Dreieich. In Step comes from a very strong mare family with numerous advanced dressage horses to its name. In Step is a substantial stallion again with a very good foundation and impulsion for two. However, his jaws are rather massive and his back could have shown more stability – a fact that became very evident during his free jumping performance. This is yet another example why free jumping for future dressage sires is still a smart thing to do. None of that would have been as evident on a lunge line. The stallion was not for sale.

The best jumper prize was awarded to Karlsson (by Dramatiker o/o Kallwischken II (by Elimcal xx x Sultan)), bred by Katja Brune, Linthe and owned by Gestüt Ganschow, who impressed as a versatile eventing type with a great attitude. He had a lot of fans in the audience and the fact that he was bought back by his owner for 40,000 euro was met with a lot of frustration. The horse has a good deal of development ahead of himself and one would hope he gets into the hands to develop both as a sport horse and future sire of sport horses.

Among the other approved stallions was Ziethen, a black son of Abendtanz o/o Zaria AA (by Cameptot AA x Pick Wick AA), the second Anglo Trakehner approved this year. The stallion is bred by Dr. Dieter Schön and owned by Jörg Mühlethaler from Sweetwater Stud in Bulgaria. This still immature and late-blooming stallion also falls into the category of an eventing or jumping type that needs more time to mature. Hopefully he will stick around for his performance test in 2017. At auction, the owner bought him back for 31,000 euro.

Gestüt Webelsgrund’s Ibsen (by Checkpoint o/o Isabella XVII (by Michelangelo x Motley xx)) impressed as a riding horse model and is the last son of his recently deceased sire. He was not for sale and knowing what Webelsgrund already pulled off with Heuberger TSF – managing an exceptional competition career with a home-bred stallion – we are looking forward to where this youngster may be headed soon. The stallion was solid in all three paces and had a particularly strong hard surface performance with good impulsion and great self-carriage.

One of the most exciting dressage stallions was the bay Nautilus (by Connery o/o Nina VI (by Latimer TSF x Caprimond)), bred by Hilmar Schmidtke, Vienna and owned by Dr. Birgit Lehner, Leonding, Austria. He was maybe a bit nondescript in terms of stallion type and expression, but moved using his whole body, with great ground-cover and impulsion and never missing a step. No wonder he was discovered at auction by Jens Thorsen of Pallerhaff in Luxemburg, a stud that has already produced several young Trakehner stallions all the way to Grand Prix. Nautilus cost 60,000 euro at auction.

The chestnut Deinheart (by Dürrenmatt o/o Donaufürstin (by Donwufischer x Friedensfürst)) was bred by Norbert Timm and is owned by Elisabeth Ahn of Gestüt Hohenschmark. From a very interesting genetic background, the stallion displayed classic Trakehner type in his expression, and accordingly had quite the fan club. As a future sire, he lacked significance in his body; overall a nice riding type with good movement, but the question remains if this is stallion-worthy. Deinheart sold to Canada for 35,000 euro.

The bay Donaumond (by Herbstkönig o/o Donauelfe (by Königsmarck x Donauwalzer)), bred and owned by Burkhard Wahler and not for sale, was a horse for the second look. Like many get of his sire, he is a bit normal looking when just standing around, but the riding qualities, especially if given a bit more time to mature and grow, were evident. This is true for many Herbstkönig offspring and time will tell if this prediction is accurate, but the approval of Donaumond was certainly acceptable and the stallion should have every chance to prove himself.
Rhenium was the second approved Millennium son this year, o/o Rising Sun (by Hofrat x Manrico), bred by Julia and Hartmut Traupe and owned by Michael Klein and Dieter Leisman. Classic Millennium all around, with type, extravagant from end, and a somewhat disappointing canter because he never really developed good self-carriage. Like Donaumond before him, he comes from a strong mother and good genetics in the bottom part of his pedigree so that his riding horse qualities will hopefully be revealed in his performance test. The stallion sold for 50,000 euro to Hamburg.

Last but not least was another crowd favorite, the shining black Speedway (by Schwarzgold o/o Shahira (by Anduc x Monteverdi)), bred by Udo Schmittberger and owned by Gestüt Hörstein. The stallion impressed with his type, excellent neck and outstanding impulsion that he developed freely over his back especially in the trot. The walk however was borderline at best. Nevertheless, not just a few people wondered why he was not awarded a premium. And yet again one has to note that with the strong and proven performance genetics in the dam via Anduc and the international Grand Prix stallion Monteverdi TSF, the expectations for his future career are high. The stallion achieved 170,000 euro at auction, but is going back to Gestüt Hörstein nevertheless. The stud had already thought about hanging on to him before NMS and will have an exciting young stallion to offer the breeders in the future.

Dressage highlights of the days in NMS appeared especially during the Saturday night Gala Show. Goldmond (by Imperio x Anduc), silver medalist at the Bundeschampionat of the 6-year old dressage horses in 2016, and his true amateur rider Birgit Held, celebrated correct dressage riding at its purest. Hubertus Schmidt, who rode the sire Imperio into the German Olympic team this year, stepped into the ring then and spontaneously helped these two to master some advanced dressage movements at the spur of the moment. The innocence of this pair, combined with the exceptional athleticism of this horse, really struck a cord.

Likewise, French master rider Alizée Froment and her freestyle – in the literal sense of the word free of any equipment – send chills down everybody’s spines. The two younger stallions Helium (Reserve Champion in 2015, by Millennium x Induc) and Herakles (already at S level dressage, by Gribaldi x Michelangelo) and their lovely riders Lena Günnel and Therese Nielshagen celebrated these two horses in style. Karin Lührs officially retired her longtime Grand Prix partner Sergeant Pepper TSF (by Exclusiv x Enrico Caruso), whose career began when she bought him as a non-approved colt in NMS 14 years ago. And the grand finale was reserved for the son of the Trakehner of the Year, Imperio – Heuberger TSF (dam by Michelangelo) and Anabel Balkenhol. The former NMS premium stallion looks back at his first Grand Prix season at the tender age of 9, with 10 starts in 2016 and 7 wins. The pair presented Dablino’s last freestyle and nobody in the Holstenhallen had a doubt that this horse will continue to climb the ladder of success. What a pair to watch.

The title Breeder of the Year was awarded to Dr. Thomas Weckerle from Aidlingen in Baden-Württemberg. With just one foundation mare, the TB Rankrose xx who he acquired in 1970, he created a family that is exceedingly successful in dressage and today represented by several advanced horses, including Kirsten Sieber’s Grand Prix mare Rosafina WRT (by Elfengeist x Consul), who is qualified for the finals of the Piaff Prize later this year.

The 2016 stallion of the year is Grafenstolz TSF (by Polarion TSF – Gipsy King), bred by Gestüt Heinen, discovered and produced by Gestüt Birkhof and now owned by The Stallion Company in France. Grafenstolz TSF was Bundeschampion and FEI World Champion of the 6-year old eventers, competed internationally at the 3* level all under multi-champion Michael Jung, and after his sale to France picked up dressage with several wins at Prix St. Georg level as if he had done nothing else all his life. As a sire, he debuted as the 15th best WBFSH-ranked eventing sire in the world, but also counts several S level dressage horses up to Grand Prix level among his get. He embodies what sets the Trakehner breed apart from most others – the ability to generate truly versatile, all-purpose riding horses for all disciplines while maintaining a certain level of refinement and blood percentage in its gene pool. The new crop of young stallions will have to prove they are worthy of continuing this tradition.

Text by Ulrike Sahm-Lütteken, Simone Schönbeck and Dr. Maren Engelhardt - Photos © Stephan Bischoff

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